After seeing one of the favorites play yesterday, another was in action today.
Wales 1 – 1 Switzerland
Sommer made a huge save in the first half. Aside from that both teams were poor in the first half. The Swiss had no ideas going forward, and Wales sat everyone behind the ball. At one stage it yook an age to get a new ball on the pitch, did they only have one in Baku?
The highlight of the game was Daniel James being extremely pissed off to be substituted. There were two goals. Embolo put Switzerland ahead before Moore broke away from the back, intelligently backing up and powerfully heading home an equalizer. This game tells us we won’t miss much if both these teams go home in the group stage.
Denmark – Finland
The performances of both teams is very much secondary to what we saw on the pitch towards the end of the first half. Confusion turned to fear as Denmark’s Eriksen, who didn’t appear to have anything hindering his performance for the opening 40 minutes, suddenly collapsed as he was passing the ball to a teammate for a throw-in. Nobody was sure what happened. It seemed at first he had just stumbled and fallen from the TV picture. However the reaction of the players nearby indicated something far more serious. Suddenly paramedics rushed on the scene and worked to resuscitate the Dane as his teammates formed a circle to cover him from the camera. We’d have to believe if there was a known severe medical problem it would have been flagged by the Danish staff or the staff of his club Inter.
I don’t know why the cameras had to linger on Eriksen’s wife on the pitch. I don’t know why the camera was not cut. But it should have been. Thankfully the paramedics were successful in reviving him. We wish Eriksen a full recovery.
The game continued, apparently upon request of the players, but they were likely not in the best position to make decisions.
As for the match itself, Denmark were on top in the first half and created chances. Finland defended resolutely and tried to get Pukki into the game. To the players credit the 2nd half didn’t see any kind of slump. Surprisingly Finland took the lead, against the run of play. They played out from the back, Pukki played it out wide, and Phjanpolo headed in a cross as Schmeichel couldn’t palm the ball away. Finland scored with their first ever shot on target at a major tournament.
Denmark were awarded a penalty, a very dubious one. 14 minutes after Finland took the lead Hojberg shot low to the left, into the grasp of Hradecky. Finland took Pukki off, which indicated their intentions to defend.
That’s their first win in Coppenhagen since 1949. Finland have every chance of progression now as long as they can keep the score down against Belgium, and get something off Russia. They are difficult to break down and are dangerous on the break.
Belgium – Russia
Lukaku’s early goal seemed like it would set the tone for Belgium in the group, and for Lukaku in the tournament. Taking advantage of a defensive lapse, he ran to the camera and told his Inter teammate who collapsed earlier he loved him. Meunier’s second was coming.
Belgium have the most combined caps in their squad of any team in the Euros. That shows in how cohesively they play. This performance was without De Bruyne and Witsel, and it was still a routine win. They’ll need a bit more creativity against better teams, hopefully for their sake they will have De Bruyne back fit and Hazard will be on form in the knockout rounds.
They sauntered here, and they should get through the group with relative ease. However any injuries defensively will give them problems.
Russia were poor apart from the opening 5 minutes of both halves. The goals came from defensive errors.
A day we will remember for sad reasons. But thankfully the word is that Eriksen is in a stable condition in the hospital. The choice for Denmark has been revealed to be playing finishing the game that night, or at 12pm the next day. Not a great choice to be offered considering the circumstances. It was brave of the Danish players to continue.